Saturday, 25th March 2023
Article Image

Run247 in Running for 24 (Hours) Heaven

by kirsty
Wednesday 31st July 2013
Tags  Kirsty Reade   |   adidas Thunder Run 24hr   |   adidas   |   Marathon Talk   |   Martin Yelling   |   Liz Yelling

Race report: Run247 columnist Kirsty Reade reports back from a very successfull outing at the adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: For more photos, courtesy of Lewis Cousins, click the 'Gallery' button above

Do you like running? How about camping? What about fun? Hanging out with friends? If the answer to these questions is yes I know just the event. The adidas Thunder Run 24.

They bill it as the ultimate dirty weekend and it didn’t disappoint. 4 pairs of my socks were trashed, 2 pairs of trainers suffered a brutal assault, first with mud, then with a high pressure hose and now sit sadly on top of garden poles drying out, and my washing machine seems to be weeping mud. All beautiful reminders of 24 hours well spent.

‘Team Run247’ up at the venue, Catton Park, were me (solo), Adam Purser (part of the adidas team – see Adam’s report later in the week) and awesome photographer Lewis Cousins. Also running and supporting were an amazing group of people from my running club, Didcot Runners. More on them later. Once the tents were up we went off to meet Team Marathon Talk and Team Yelling Performance, aka (Liz) Yelling’s Yompers, both of whom we featured leading up to the event.

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: Team Marathon Talk all smiles and Tony Audenshaw in action © Lewis Cousins

What a fantastic bunch of people they turned out to be! So enthusiastic and in it for all the best reasons – to have a lot of fun and to test themselves beyond their comfort zones. Rumour has it that one of them carb-loaded the night before on pasta and gin and tonic but I couldn’t possibly say who it was. Liz, Martin, Tom and Tony couldn’t have been friendlier and we loved hanging out with them and taking lots of photos of them.

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: The Yelling Yompers smile their way through 24 muddy hours © Lewis Cousins

We set off under blue skies, ignoring the warning of thunder storms and lightning we were given at the race briefing. It was boiling, surely the weather forecasters had got it wrong. Actually, the main worry was overheating in the first few hours, which seems crazy in retrospect.

Video: The start © Lewis Cousins

The midday start is an amazing sight (see our video above). It’s a huge event and for the first lap most of the team members are in the start area to see their team mates off. There are always loads of friends and families too as it’s such a fun weekend and such a safe and friendly environment to camp in. Imagine going to a huge campsite, where it feels like you know everybody, and having a massive party for 24 hours and you’re somewhere close to imagining what TR24 is like.

Except I keep forgetting about the running bit. That’s the thing that threatens to differentiate TR24 from a really nice weekend of camping. The sensible thing is to do it in a team. Then you might get a bit of sleep and at least you get a bit of a rest between laps. And it looked amazing to have the camaraderie and support of a team. Us solo runners had the next best thing though – awesome supporters. I can’t express the gratitude you feel when somebody says ‘I’ll have a cup of tea/some soup/pasta ready when you finish the next lap’ and they’re there at various points around the course to cheer you on, just when you’re flagging.  What was really amazing was that you seemed to develop new supporters through the weekend. The support for solo runners was truly humbling. I would run past the Marathon Talk and Team Yelling camp and there was always a group shouting encouragement and it meant a huge amount and kept me going more than I can say.

So as you probably guessed, the heavens did open and it was pretty spectacular. It started at about 8pm with some thunder and a bit of lightning (the woods didn’t feel like the best place to be at this point), then came the torrential rain. And in the space of a couple of laps the nice dry paths (it’s all off-road) became muddy, slippy, shoe-sucking ice rinks. Another dimension of difficulty was just what we needed. When you stopped to get a drink/change clothes and momentarily stepped inside a dry tent or under a gazebo it became so, so hard to leave it again!

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: Rain and mud can't dampen the spirits in the end! © Lewis Cousins

Weirdly, but in keeping with an event like TR24, the awful conditions just seemed to make the camaraderie even greater. How we laughed as we fell over for the tenth time and slid down the hill yet again! I have to be honest and say that towards the end the constant slipping of your feet started to get me down a bit but that was mostly because by then my toes were like revolting, painful cocktail sausages after being submerged in mud for so many hours, and every step hurt.  

As ever in 24 hour events, the sun coming up lifted everybody’s spirits, particularly as it had stopped raining by then. You always feel better once you’ve made it through the night. There’s still a long way to go but the worst is over. The camp slowly wakes up and there’s more support around again (though the smell of bacon wasn’t helpful). There’s a sense of it being a last push, which is a very good feeling. It’s overwhelming to think about how long there is to go in the early stages. In fact I’d say you just can’t or you’re probably done for!

I didn’t know it until the late stages but Sarah Gardner-Hall, last year’s winner, and I were neck and neck. I only really found out that I’d won it when I finished my last lap. It was a close race and it was hard to grind out those laps when the conditions underfoot made it such slow going. We were both just glad to finish without injuring ourselves. Coming over the line and seeing all my club mates there to greet me, all of whom had either run (and were therefore battered), or had hardly slept (and were therefore battered), was one of the best moments of my life. Then Liz and her amazing team came over to congratulate me and Martin interviewed me for Marathon Talk. It all felt a bit like a dream but there is photographic evidence from the brilliant Lewis (who I think managed to self-replicate over the weekend, judging by the number of places he managed to get to at all hours and the number of photos he took) so it must have happened.

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: A fun outing for the Yelling family © Lewis Cousins

It’s so hard to pick out the highlights of such an incredible weekend but I’ll give it a go. Firstly, being amongst fellow runners, all testing themselves to their limits and all in the spirit of being in it together in very tough conditions makes the atmosphere incredible. Hanging out with the Marathon Talk, Yelling Performance and other adidas teams was huge fun and I feel like I’ve made some new friends there. Special mention must go to the Yelling Yompers who, despite declaring themselves ‘not really proper runners’ managed an incredible 23 10K laps! They completely blew me away with what they achieved and were a total inspiration all weekend. They all smiled the whole time and they just summed up everything the event is about. My personal highlight was just being there as part of a running club. The members who were running all did themselves proud and kept each other going and our supporters were nothing short of amazing, driving us there, putting up tents, catering to our every whim, and getting to every vantage point they could. In many ways us runners had it easier. It was great to see lots of old friends (including the awesome Spenser Lane, who was typically the last man out on the course, always determined to get those extra few miles in) and meet new friends.

Most people will probably find 24 hour events a bit bonkers but I would urge people to give it a go as part of a team. From what I saw this weekend you will push your limits, meet amazing people, eat a lot, and come out of it with some crazy ideas about what to do next. But beware, it will probably cost you some socks.

adidas Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

Photos: It's not all about winning - but the team at Run247 are sure proud of Kirsty! © Lewis Cousins

Men's solo results

1 PAUL GILBIN 20 22:49:40
2 PETE SCULL 19 25:03:51
3 MARTIN TERRY 17 23:36:35


Women's solo results

1 KIRSTY READE 16 23:56:42
2 SARAH GARDNER-HALL 15 23:17:14
3 STEPHANIE WOOD 14 23:13:04


Click here for full results, including pairs and teams categories


About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 


Related Articles

Article Image
Skid Row Marathon Pip Haylett went along to a special screening of Skid Row Marathon
Article Image
Martin Yelling's Long Run HomeMartin Yelling is about to embark on a huge challenge for charity
Article Image
Would giving up alcohol make me a better...With Dry January and new government guidelines in the headlines, Kirsty Reade ta...
Article Image
And the winner of the category for 'best...Race report: Escaping the grim weather in the UK, Kirsty Reade travelled to Spai...
Article Image
Skid Row Marathon - a must-see filmSpecial screening of this very special film
Article Image
Run-Fast Birmingham targets more success...The second year of team Run-Fast Birmingham look to top previous success
Article Image
Whole Earth Man vs Horse: horse wins!Horse victorious again at 37th edition of the Welsh endurance event
Article Image
Futurecraft: 3D-printed midsoles tailore...Product news: Imagine walking into an adidas store, running briefly on a treadmi...

Post A Comment


Thunder Run 24hr - July 27th-28th 2013

by Robert
10:23, Friday 2nd August 2013

Massive well done on winning this event. Just been listening to your interview on Marathon Talk and it was amazing what you achieved, I hope you will be taking a bit of a rest now

TereréJordan Blood